Five simple things to keep you safe when boating this summer

As the weather is heating up around Otago, we are expecting a large increase in the amount of people out on our waters.

There are five simple things to remember if you are planning on heading out boating this summer:

  • Wear your life-jacket.
  • Take two waterproof ways to call for help.
  • Check the marine weather forecast.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Be a responsible skipper.

These are the key risks identified by Maritime NZ as factors in boating fatalities. The leading risk is not wearing a life-jacket. According to Maritime NZ, two-thirds of people who die in boating accidents every year could have been saved if they had been wearing a life-jacket.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) harbour-master Steve Rushbrook said: ‘‘There are no excuses for not wearing a life-jacket’’.

Another important measure to easily prevent fatalities is having the ability to communicate distress if you end up in the water. Very-high-frequency (VHF) radios are your best form of two-way communication when out on the water.

If you are a local in Otago, you know the weather here can change suddenly and without warning. This is why it is so important to check the marine weather forecast.

Weather (swell/wave action or river state) is a major cause of accidents, which can have fatal consequences.

If in doubt, don’t go out!

As a responsible skipper, it is your duty to keep everyone on board safe, whether this is through ensuring there are suitable lifejackets for everyone or simply not drinking. Boats and alcohol don’t mix; if you wouldn’t drink and drive why would you drink and boat?

Drinking while operating a boat not only puts yourself in needless danger but everyone else in your care.

Although we all like a nice cold beverage on a hot summer’s day, it is best to wait until you’re anchored for the day before drinking any alcohol.

Take these messages on board with you while you’re out on the waters this summer or any time of the year to ensure your own and others’ safety.